overcoming writer's block

It’s the summer holidays and a time for juggling kids with creativity/deadlines and frankly, it’s not easy. I know this. I’m a mum of two and blogging and vlogging is my full time job. I was a multi-award winning screenwriter and TV Director/filmmaker before my blog evolved into a career, and I’ve experienced writer’s block a lot over the years. It’s never lasted long though so I thought I’d share my tips on how I personally overcome it.

My good friend Nomita, founder of stunning blog Your DIY Family shared on Instagram yesterday she was going through a block. This post is for her and anyone else suffering a creative slump right now.

  1. Accept how you feel. Embrace your emotions, however silly/hard it seems. Be at peace with how you feel at this very moment. Trust it will pass. Similarly to insomnia, if you lie there anxious at the fact you’re not sleeping, sleep will allude you. Accept you can’t sleep, practice meditation/deep breathing (I like to count the different sounds I can hear as a means of distraction) or get up and do something else before trying to sleep again, works for me. The same applies to writer’s block. Accept, distract, become active and inspiration will come.
  2. Talk about it. I find the greatest antidote to writer’s block and the inevitable self-doubt which usually accompanies it, is to talk about it. To share your fears in order to process them. To reduce their threat. Speak to those you trust because once your worries are out there, they become less scary and more easily overcome. You’ll also find comfort in other creatives admitting they too suffer from creative blocks too. Let’s naturalise writer’s block in order to combat it quicker.
  3. Distraction is key. Distraction eventually leads to renewed inspiration and motivation. Go for a walk, hang out with people who bring joy to your life, and pursue something else creative. Paint if you usually write, change form and medium to switch things up, trying your hand at poetry if you usually write prose and vice versa or picking up an instrument for example, and expose yourself to other people’s art too, visiting a gallery or museum or watching content online you’d otherwise ignore. Open your mind. Liberate yourself from the pressure to create and immerse yourself in something else.  Remember that you have to LIVE in order to CREATE. Don’t forget that as with your muscles, your creative muscles: arms and brain need a break too. Don’t beat yourself up about it. Everyone needs recovery time.
  4. Do something new. I find that doing something out of the ordinary which pushes me out of my comfort zone, always gives me a confidence-boost be it starting Pilates or cooking something I’ve never made before. When you feel like you’ve lost your creative mojo, the fear can be overwhelming…You question whether you’ll ever write/film/paint again. Trust that when you love something, it will return. Passion always overrides fear. This current slump will pass.
  5. One of my most beloved books on writing is the classic Becoming a Writer by Dorethea Brande written in 1934. Dorethea advocates writing as soon as you wake up, ‘training yourself, in the twilight zone between sleep and the full waking state, simply to write’. Writing a stream of consciousness, without judgement or re-reading it, and before reading a paper or checking your phone will help free you from the pressures of writing with a purpose other than to simply enjoy the act of writing. Thanks to this daily practise, you will rediscover the joy of simply writing, for yourself, for the pleasure of it and before you know it, you will be sharing your work with the world, once more.

I hope you’ve found these tips useful.

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20 Responses

  1. Rob

    Yep, needed this… I find the more I try to force myself to write, the less I’m able to. I have started just writing random stuff, no editing, no real meaning just the physical act of writing.
    Something kicks in and before I know it I’m able to string a sentence together, then another and so on.
    I try the distraction method, but find myself so distracted that no writing gets done for days sometimes weeks and it’s much harder to come back to.
    Rob recently posted…Talking About Accessible Beaches on BBC Radio SolentMy Profile

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    • Honest Mum

      Absolutely this, just go with the flow and lose yourself in your art. Yep distraction should be in short bursts, too long can make it harder to return!

      Reply
  2. Emma Peach

    I use the distraction technique, but then I’m easily distracted which isn’t always a good thing! It’s great when I have the luxury of time but being up against a deadline can be tough. When I worked for online news we had five minutes to get a breaking story live and I always dreaded a big one happening on my shift. Thankfully blogging is a more leisurely pace but writer’s block does still set in. I’d like to try writing first thing in the morning, I’ll have to wait until I have some time alone though – solitude is in short supply over the summer holidays!

    Emma xxx
    http://www.style-splash.com
    Emma Peach recently posted…Jeans and a Jacket by the SeaMy Profile

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  3. Kim Taylor

    I agree with distraction, if I do something to take my mind off the subject then I feel much better x
    Kim Taylor recently posted…Erborian BB Creme / cream Nude review – Korean SkincareMy Profile

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    • Honest Mum

      Really does, doesn’t it. Often find right before I sleep, I’m most inspired so keep a notebook in my bedside drawer x

      Reply
  4. Vicky

    For me, the distraction technique works the best. I find that I can mull over something whilst walking the dog or whatever, and then by the time I get back, there is a whole blogpost written in my head! Whereas if I just sit down to write – Nothing! Some fab tips here. xxx #BrilliantBlogPosts
    Vicky recently posted…Daddy Has A BirthdayMy Profile

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  5. Emma

    Great tips Vicki. I work as a writer, and also for my own blog, and I definitely find that the more I return to what I loved about writing when I was a child/teenager – writing a journal every day either ‘morning pages’, as you suggest here, or a gratitude journal at the end of the day – the easier the words flow when I HAVE to write blog posts or work stuff. I’ve also moved back to handwriting first drafts rather than using a keyboard. There is something unique about that connection of mind, pen & paper. Writing really is a muscle you have to exercise. Some writer disagree with this, I know, but that’s what works for me.

    Reply
  6. Petra

    Definitely some great tips here! I’ve already realised that I cannot force it and if I struggle to write, the best is to have a break and do something different. It’s amazing how ideas come to me out of nowhere, when I am not thinking about my blog at all!
    Petra recently posted…Review: Odylique Balancing Citrus Super TonicMy Profile

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  7. Maria | passion fruit, paws and peonies

    Most of the time my brain floods with ideas. My problem is they come to me at the most inconvenient times. So when I’m back at my laptop, my brain goes ‘Nah, sorry, it’s gone’. I have started stopping and noting things down more. My darling old Nan came up with a pearl of wisdom – a perfect idea for my next ‘Let’s talk’ blog post – noted (somewhere…)
    Maria | passion fruit, paws and peonies recently posted…Apple and Blackberry SconesMy Profile

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    • Honest Mum

      Ha brilliant. I have so many notebooks (absolutely everywhere), it’s ridiculous but helpful. I constantly email myself notes too x

      Reply
  8. jodie filogomo

    I love the idea to do something different! I do get stuck in my habits and routines, and this would probably help tons!!
    XOXO
    Jodie
    http://www.jtouchofstyle.com
    jodie filogomo recently posted…Another Option with Camo is our Beloved DenimMy Profile

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  9. Stephanie ReadsWell

    These tips are surely useful to fellow bloggers. I too want to become a writer and reading tips like these inspire me. Thanks a ton.

    Reply
  10. your DIY family

    Love this post and thank you for the support. It is very frustrating but like you say, I need to learn to embrace creative blocks and trust that they won’t last forever. I love the idea of trying something new without any pressure. Might do exactly that. Thank you lovely xxx
    your DIY family recently posted…Just do it! Free printable to do listMy Profile

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